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Christian Horner

Horner puzzled by Perez deficit after 'mega' Verstappen lap

The Red Bull team boss was satisfied with the efforts of the Dutchman, while team-mate Sergio Perez failed to make it through to Q3 after having a lap time deleted.

Verstappen Qatar
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Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has praised the "mega lap" that Max Verstappen produced for Qatar Grand Prix pole but was left puzzled by Sergio Perez.

On his only effort in Q3 after he aborted his final attempt due to a mistake, Verstappen secured pole by 0.441s over George Russell after Lando Norris was penalised.

As for Perez, he failed to make Q3 for the eighth time in 2023, and will line up 13th at best on a weekend his faint title hopes will be extinguished as Verstappen closes in on a third title, which can be won in the Sprint.

Reflecting on the mixed qualifying, Horner first described how Verstappen "did a majority of the damage."

"Thankfully that first run was such a mega lap, he nailed the first sector and the first corner is where he did the majority of the damage," Horner told Sky Sports.

"He then tried to take a little bit more out on the next lap and made a mistake, but thankfully with that banker [lap] it was it was enough."

Horner: Another tough one for Checo

Perez missed out on Q3 after having his lap time deleted in the closing stages of Q2 for exceeding track limits.

While it does not impact his chances of keeping the championship alive during the Sprint race, it puts him on the back foot for the remainder of the weekend.

Horner believes the Mexican needs to show an improvement after Verstappen has scored the majority of the points for the team so far this season.

"We'd still be leading the World Championship without Checo if we didn't have him, but obviously the delta between the two of them is difficult to explain at the moment," said Horner.

"It's a shame, Checo made it to Q3 and then lost his lap time, just like what happened with Lando [Norris] and Oscar [Piastri] and so it's very tough. Again Max getting the job done, a tough one for Checo."

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